Bringing It All Together
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at what it takes to implement a text-to-911 program at your PSAP, including why this program is important, the limitations around it as well as the significance of proper and thorough employee training and community engagement.
Text-to-911 has become a presumed method of emergency communication from the public, especially the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) community. The expectation is that emergency services can be reached via text message, just as you would communicate with your friends and family. In fact, lawsuits have been filed against state and local entities for not having the ability to support text-to-911, and several successful court cases have proven the value of this program.
Remember that your text-to-911 program will not be effective without proper community engagement, communication and buy-in from your public stakeholders. Outreach programs, press conferences and social media channels are important tools in rolling out a successful text-to-911 program at your Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
But it’s not just enough to check these items off of your to-do list; your messages on each of these channels must be properly tailored so that your key talking points reach as much of the public as possible.
Lastly, your PSAP personnel need the proper training, policy and support from management in order to have a successful text-to-911 program rollout. Your staff are the boots on the ground and are the ones who ultimately need to understand and know how to handle this new method of emergency communication. Involving your staff early and ensuring text-to-911 policy is properly documented and communicated with them is imperative.
I hope that you’ve found this blog series beneficial for your PSAP as you’ve thought about implementing text-to-911 in your area. Stay tuned for more topics and ways to improve your public safety agency. In the meantime, you can discover more resources as well as information on how to unlock the power of your public safety data here.